Ten months into 2020, COVID-19 has canceled many large and small events for most of the year.
Friends and family celebrate drive-by birthdays and promotions through Zoom. And now that Halloween approaches, the kids are wondering if they can run around their neighborhood to show off their Batman and Superwoman costumes – and get as much candy as possible.
Fortunately, Halloween isn’t completely canceled.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidelines for safe partying so you can still put out your pumpkins. The CDC recommends that you keep numbers to a minimum or limit guests to those who live in your household for low-risk Halloween activities like outdoor pumpkin carving or an outdoor family barbecue. Or you can take part in a virtual costume contest online.
Although some fall activities are high risk and should be avoided this year, there are ways to stay entertained. Just make sure you wear all of the masks – and not the type that comes with your costume – if you go trick or treating.
Tips and (Halloween) tricks
Are you looking for ways to make trick or treating safer? Wash your hands before and after handling candy or goodie bags. When handing out candy, keep them outside in a bowl where the trick or treat can help itself to eliminate the risk of contact. And while you can’t throw a big decorating party, you can display pumpkins and hang ghosts and spider webs.
Do you still have a heart for a party or gathering? If you decide to keep one in your home, there are important things to consider, says the CDC.
It is important that you let your guests know that as much as you want to see them, if they are sick or have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past 14 days, they must stay home.
If possible, hold the meeting outdoors. If you need to be inside, keep the numbers low and open doors or windows for better ventilation. Ask your guests to stay 6 feet away and wear masks. Provide a spot with soap and water or hand sanitizer so guests can wash their hands on arrival and before and after dinner – and anytime in between. Encourage families to bring their own food and drink to limit sharing. When preparing food, wash your hands before and after preparing it. Individually prepared snacks or meals can avoid the risk of spreading germs.
Jessica F., a mother from Abington, Pennsylvania, told Medical Daily how the pandemic disrupted her family’s typical fall vacation activities.
“In the pre-pandemic world, my family rides hay, picks pumpkins, goes to fall festivals, decorates, and makes mazes,” said Jessica. [Ed.Note: some awkward working in the quote.] She has two children who are 14 and 12 years old. Since the pandemic began, her family has only seen other family members and went out minimally while wearing masks. Jessica described how she hired her family for fall festivals this year while still wary of the pandemic.
“We decorated the house as always and bought pumpkins. I rented a private horse ride for our “circle”. We are baking. We definitely miss the bigger festivals and hay rides, ”she said.
When asked about trick or treating, she said her kids are older and be careful with COVID-19. She doesn’t think they will attend. Thinking about her children’s mental health, she says trick or treating is safer than a Halloween party.
Jessica said her community recommended that people stay home and avoid indoor parties, but didn’t impose specific rules. She hopes to be able to distribute sweets from afar.
“When we get home, we’ll leave out candy and maybe scream ‘Happy Halloween’ out the window or driveway and tell them to have one.”
The take away
The most important takeaway thing is to take precautions no matter how you party. And especially if you or someone in your family has been exposed to the coronavirus, staying home during the fall festivals is important.
Sammy Lucero is a student of nursing at Drexel University. Outside of school and work, she cheers the Green Bay Packers.